Tribes of the Thal: The Muslim Aheer/Ahir of Punjab

In this post, I return the tribes that inhabit the Thal desert region, located in western Punjab, and look at the Aheer or sometimes written as Ahir. The Thal is a vast arid region which is located between the Jhelum and Sindh rivers near the Pothohar Plateau, with a total length from north to south 190 miles, and a maximum breadth of 70 miles (110 km) and minimum breadth 20 miles. The desert covers the districts of Bhakkar, Khushab, Mianwali, Layyah, Muzaffargarh as well as Jhang, from the left bank of the river Jhelum. It is the last remaining desert region in the Doabs of the Punjab, the others now have been arable through a vast networks of canals. As an arid region, the tribes that inhabit it are largely pastoral. I would ask the reader to look at my post on the Bhachars, which gives some background on the ethnology of the Thal region.

 

 

The Aheer, are found throughout the western districts of the Punjab, In the Thal region, they are found mainly in Khushab District, concentrated in the headquarters in Khushab. The Khushab Aheer, are often in the news in Pakistan, due mainly to their active participatiojn in politics, having produced Malik Nasim Aheer, a former interior Minister under General Zia. This article will not concentrate on that family, but will be a general description of the tribe. Urdu sources, which often dismissed by those who either have no knowledge of the language, or pretend they don’t, will be the main basis of this summary. My main source shall be Aqvam-i Panjab by SultÌan Shahbaz Anjum.

 

So who are the Aheer, and the answer is not that simple, in fact with regards to tribal origins, it never is. The name Ahir, which is actually pronounced as Aheer, is used for a large caste cluster found throughout North India, many of whom prefer to call themselves Yadavs. An obvious conclusion would be therefore to conclude the Aheer of the Thal, and others parts of western Punjab, are one and the same as the Ahir. According to the author of the Tehreek Aqwam e Punjab, the Aheers claim descent from Qutab Shah, the ancestor of the Awan and Khokhar tribes, and deny any connection with the Ahir of North India. Denzil Ibbetson, the colonial ethnographer, in his account of the 1881 Census of Punjab, argued that Aheer and Heer was one in the same tribe. There is a single exception, the famous Malik family of Khushab connects itself with the Roas of Rewari. Those who spoke dialects of Lahanda, such as Seraiki or Thalochi tended to refer to themselves as Aheer, while those found in central Punjab refered to themselves as Heer. The Heer, a large Jat clan found throughout central Punjab, stretching from Gujrat to Patiala, together with the Bhullar and Maan clans, claim to be the nucleus of the Jat ethnic group, all other tribes were said to be latter incorporated into the Jat. There is a further division as the Heer can be either Muslim or Sikh, while the Aheer are always Muslim. The 1917 District Gazetteer of Shahpur District, which then occupied most of the Thal, simply refers to the Aheer as ordinary Musalman tribe like their neighbours.

 

I will briefly here go over the origin myths of the Ahir in Punjab. At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Ahir population in British Punjab were found chiefly in the south-east namely in the districts of Dehli, Gurgaon, and Rohtak and the PEPSU States bordering upon these districts. I would ask the reader to look at my post on the distribution of the Ahirs in Punjab at the turn of the 20th Century. These Ahirs were entirely Hindu, and included among them were the family of the Roas of Rewari, which I will come to latter in this article. However, separated from these were communities of Aheer found in the Sindh Sagar Doad, the land between the Indus and the Jhelum-Chenab, who were entirely Muslim. Both groups of Ahir were pastoral caste, with their name said to be derived from the Abhira, an ancient community mentioned in the Mahabharat. In Punjab, most of the Hindu Ahir belong to the Yadubans sub-divisions, which claims to be descended from Krishna.

 

The Aheer of Khushab

 

The landowning Ahirs of Khushab and Sahiwal in present day Sargodha district claim descent from the Raos of Rewari, a Ahir principality in present day Haryana. Until the arrival of the British in the mid 19th Century, the Aheer were practical rulers of the region around the town of Khushab. However, as the power of the Tiwanas rose, the Aheer were reduced to simple zamindars. Thisfamily connects themselves with the Rewari state, based in present day Haryana. The state of Rewari was established by an Ahir  chieftain, Rao Nandram, during the reign of Farrukhsiyar, the Mughal emperor of Delhi. The emperor pleased with military support he received from Nandram, gave him a jagir of 360 villages around Rewari and legitimized Nandram‟s supremacy over the region by conferring upon him the title of chaudhari. He belonged to the Yaduvamsi sub-caste of the Ahirs and to the Abhiriya clan. According to Khushab traditions, they decend from a nephew of Nandram. The jagir was expandedby Rao Gujarmal who got mansab of  5,000 zat and sanad from the emperor Muhammad Shah. Rao Gujarmal built many forts and issued his own coin, but later the kingdom came under the control of Marathas for a brief spell  The last Rao, Tula Ram played an important role in the 1857 mutiny against the British. He proclaimed independence and assumed the title of Raja, and supported the rebels at Delhi and on 16 November 1857 he fought a losing battle against the British at Narvane. After his defeat, he went to Iran and Afghanistan to raise an Army, but died in Kabul on 2 September 1863. The British confiscated the estate of Rao Tula Ram and this marked the end of Ahir Kingdom.

 

So I started off this article by asking the question, who are the Aheer, and the only fact that be confirmed is that they were once a large pastoral tribe, occupying the northern portion of the Thal, whose chiefs or Maliks in the 19th Century confirmed ownership of their lands, which helped to transform them into large landowners in what became Khushab.

 

 

Villages in Thal

In Khushab District, there villages include Aheerpur, Rakh Baghoor, Aheer Jagir, Rahdari and Girote near Khushab city. Staying within the Thal, but outside Khushab, important Aheer villages include Aheeranwala, Aba Khel, Ahheranwala, Jandanwala and Wandhi Aheeranwali near Pai-Khel, all in Mianwali District, while across the Jhelum, in Sargodha District, there are several Aheer villages near the town of Sahiwal, such as Ahir Fateh Shah and Ahir Surkhru, and Lakseem near Kot Momin.  In Mandi Bahauddin District, Chak Nizam near the town of Malakwal is an important village. Finally in Bhakkar District, they are found in Aheeranwala and Wadhaywala.

Outside the Thal,

 

The Aheer are found in Rawalpindi, Lodhran, Khanewal, Sahiwal and Faisalabad districts In the canal colonies of central Punjab, Aheers from the Thal, like many others have settled in chaks, or settlements, with important ones being Chak 142J.B (Khai Aheeran), Chak 235JB (Haiboana), Langrana and Mouza Lodhran in Chiniot District, Chak 452 JB (Aheeranwala) in Jhang District, Chak 7 (Aheeranwala) in Mandi Bahauddin District, Chak 77/12-L in Sahiwal District. In southern Punjab, the Aheer are found in scattered settlements in Khanewal District in villages near the towns of Kabirwala and Qadirpur Raan, and in Lodhran District, their most important villages being Basti Aheer and Jhok Aheer.

Isolated from other Aheer settlements are the villages of Ahir and Bher Ahir in the Gujar Khan Tehsil of Rawalpindi. These Aheer claim Rajput status, and have customs similar to other groups Rajput groups.

 

Distribution of Muslim Ahir in Punjab by District According to 1911 Census of India

 

District Population
Shahpur (Sargodha & Khushab districts) 1,017
Mianwali 843
Chenab Colony (Faisalabad) 345
Multan 234
Jhang 167
Other districts 195
Total Population 2,801

 

Khokhar Population of Punjab According to the 1901 Census of India

In this post I will give the distribution of the Khokhar population according to the 1901 Census. As the table shows, most of the Khokhar were found in the river valleys of the Jhelum, Chenab and Sutlej. I will ask the reader to look at my posts on the Bandial and Bhachar as well as the Khokhar of UP, which gives some background to this community.

District / States Population
Shahpur 24,351
Bahawalpur State 16,540
Jhang 16,398
Multan 11,606
Chenab Colony 8,511
Montgomery 8,093
Mianwali
4,573
Dera Ghazi Khan 4,199
Muzaffargarh
4,020
Jhelum
3,865
Gujrat
1,638
Lahore  1,503
Firuzpur  1,169
Sialkot  784
Other Districts  4,713
Total Population 107,943

 

Bhatti Rajput Population of Punjab according to the 1901 Census

This is my third post looking at the distribution of Rajput tribes in Punjab. This one will look at the Bhattis, who in population numbers were the largest tribe in the Punjab. Although found in almost every district, but had especial concentrations in Bhatiana (Firuzpur/Hissar/Sirsa), Bhatiore (Jhang/Chiniot, Gujranwala) and the Pothohar regions. I will also ask the reader to look at my post on the Muslim Bhatti of Uttar Pradesh, to get some background on the tribe.

 

 

District / States

Muslim

Hindu

Sikh

Total

Rawalpindi

 36,268      36,268
Multan  25,675  195  81  26,951
Lahore  21,470  142    21,612
Firuzpur  18,585  204   18,789
Amritsar  16,417  87  14 16,518
Gujranwala  12,934 12,934
Montgomery  12,759  31 12,790
Gurdaspur  11,675  40 11,715
Jhelum  10,664 10,664
Chenab Colony  9,730  35  564 10,329
Sialkot  9,853 9,853
Jhang  7,737 7,737
Dera Ghazi Khan  7,272 7,272
Shahpur  7,205  61 7,266
Hissar 5,986 596 6,582
Jalandhar 6,484 58 6,542
Muzaffargarh 5,442 5,442
Patiala State 5,180 221 5,401
Kapurthala State 4,958 228 5,186
Hoshiarpur 3,274 313 3,587
Gujrat 1,784 1,784
Ludhiana 1,748 18 1,766
Ambala 1,416 1,416
Faridkot 1,381 11 1,392
Karnal 775 58  19 852
Nabha State 721  10 731
Mianwali 590 590
Delhi 326  83 409
Rohtak 368 23 391
Jind 263 56 319
Gurgaon 119 70 189

Other Districts

 

 

 

 

Total

 249,230

 2,551

 718

 252,449

 

Panwar / Parmar Rajput population According to the 1901 Census of Punjab

The Panwar, sometimes pronounced as Parmar or even Puar were the third largest Rajput tribe in the Punjab. The eastern Panwar, who numbered around 33,553, or 50% of the total population were like the Chauhans, a tribe of Ranghar pastoralists, concentrated in Haryana. A second group, who numbered 19,689, about 30% of the population were concentrated in south west Punjab, especially in Bahawalpur State, and the neighbouring areas of Multan, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Mianwali and Firuzpur in present East Punjab. These Panwar, many of whom considered themselves to be Jats, were Seraiki speaking farmers. In between these groups were the Sikh Panwars of the Rechna Doaba, Muslims Panwars of Lahore, Jalandhar and Ludhiana, the Mahton Panwars of the same region, and the Panwar Rajputs of the Pabbi Hills in the Jhelum/Gujrat region. It is worth pointing that several West Punjabi tribes such as the Bangial, Hon, Sohlan, Narma, Dhudhi, Mekan and Tiwana claim to be descended from the Panwar Rajputs. They are now fairly distinct from the parent tribe, and were recorded seperately.

District / States

Muslim

Hindu

Sikh

Total

Rohtak

 13,931

 2,785

   16,716

Bahawalpur State

 9,845

 348

 223

 10,416

Hissar

 6,165

 1,240

 7,405

Firuzpur

 5,453  157  69  5,679

Multan

 5,445

 221

 

 5,666

Jind State

769

 

 2,839

 

 3,608

Karnal

2,009

 288

 11  2,308

Patiala State

1,353

 180

 157

1,690

 

Montgomery

 1,451  24 1,475

 

Ludhiana

1,392

 

63

1,455

Lahore 1,212 23 220 1,455
Gurgaon 920 355 1,275
Muzaffargarh 695
62 100 857
Dera Ghazi Khan 849   849
Jhelum 649 649
Chenab Colony 295 29 205 529
Jalandhar 425 18 443
Mianwali 426 426
Dehli 135 272 407
Gujranwala 16  380 396
Sialkot 278 74 352
Ambala 242 57 299
Rawalpindi 157 157
Dujana State 104 40 144
Shahpur 48  83 131
Gurdaspur 127 127
Gujrat 111 111
Hoshiarpur 108 108

Other Districts

 

 

 

Total

55,067

9,309

1,614

65,990

Baloch Population of Punjab According to the 1901 Census

In this post, I will look at the distribution of the Baloch community in Punjab. as should expected, the majority occupied territory that bordered Baluchistan, such as Dera Ghazi Khan and Baloch Trans-Frontier.

There were infact two distinct groups of Baloch in Punjab, a larger Seraiki speaking group, with the Trans-Frontier Baloch actually speaking Balochi, found throughout South West Punjab, with Mianwali (present day Mianwali and Bhakkar districts) and Shahpur (present day Khushab and Sargodha) forming the northern boundary, Jhang, Lyalpur and Montgomery forming the eastern boundary of the region. This was home to 90% of the Baloch group. A second cluster, about 10% lived in and around Delhi, the present day Haryana state. These Baloch were Haryanvi speaking, and the Baloch colonies here dated from the 15th Century. The city of Lahore, as capital of Punjab, was home to large urban community, which formed the third sub-group among the Baloch of Punjab.

 

District / State Population
Dera Ghazi Khan 168,322
Muzaffargarh 76,586
Bahawalpur State 64,832
Mianwali
27,295
Multan 24,488
Baloch Trans-Frontier 22,369
Chenab Colony 17,433
Shahpur 12,995
 Jhang
12,971
Montgomery 12,024
Lahore 5,288
Firuzpur 3,388
Gujranwala 3,274
Jhelum 2,338
Rohtak 2,314
Gurgaon 2,241
Patiala State 1,382
Delhi 1,240
Hissar 1,151
Karnal 1,094
Rawalpindi 915
Gujrat 906
Faridkot 517
Other Districts 2,480
Total Population 467,843

Pathan population of Punjab According to the 1901 Census

This is my eleventh post looking at the distribution of communities designated as agriculture. Of all the communities looked at, the Pathans were the most diverse in terms of language, culture and traditions. Other then the Makhad Pathans, who spoke Pashto, the Pathan groups difered little from the population of the region they were settled in. These colonies of Pathans were accounted for by Sir Densil Ibbetson in the following manner:

During the Lodi and Suri dynasties many Pathans migrated to India especially during the reign of Bahlol Lodhi and Sher Shah Suri. These naturally belonged to the Ghilzai section from which those kings sprung.[3]
— Sir Densil Ibbetson

Large numbers of Pathans accompanied the armies of Mahmud of Ghazni, Muhammad of Ghor and Babur, and many of them obtained grants of land in the Punjab plains and founded Pathan colonies which still exist. Many Pathans have also been driven out of Afghanistan due to devastated invading forces such as Genghis Khan and his Mongol armies, including internal feuds or famine, and have taken refuge in the plains east of the Indus River where the Mongols marked the line of their aggression. The tribes most commonly to be found in the Punjab region are the Yusufzai, Mandanr, Lodhi, Kakar, Sherwani, Orakzai, Tanoli, Karlanri and the Zamand Pathans. Of these the most widely distributed are the Yusufzai, of whom a body of 12,000 accompanied the Mughal Emperor Babur in the final invasion of India, and settled in the plains of India and the Punjab. But as a rule the Pathans who have settled away from the frontier have lost all memory of their tribal divisions, and indeed almost all their national characteristics.

In terms of distribution, most of the Pathan population was found in four distinct areas, about 20% in Mianwali, similar percentage in the Chhach, 20% in the region around Delhi, about 20% in East Punjab especially in Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Ambala, and Gurdaspur, 5% were the Multani Pathans, found in southern Punjab, the remainder distributed in Lahore and other parts of Punjab.

The Mianwali Pathans

The District with largest Pathan population was Mianwali, where they numbered 46,818, almost 20% of the total. There are four different tribes of Pathans in the district, the Niazais, Khattaks, the Biluchch Pathans, and the Multanis, and spoke a dialect of Punjabi close to Seraiki. The Khattaks of Isa Khel Tehsil, known as  Bhangish or Bhangi Khels from the region they occup in the Isa Khel Tahsil, and one village opposite their own
country across the Indus in the Mianwali Tehsil. The other section of Khattaks, called the Guddi Khels, hold the villages on the  skirts of the Maidani range. Both these Khattaks are unique in that they still Pashto.

The Makhad and Chach Pathans

Most of the 44,244 Pathans living in Rawalpindi District came from the Chhachh region. In 1902, this region became part of the seperate Attock District. These Attock Pathans are found in two parts of the tehsil, those of Sarwala, and those of Chhachh.The Chhachh Pathans have very little in common with the Sagri, as they are separated by the Kala Chita mountains. The Chhachh are a Hindko and speaking community, and have much in common with the Pashtun tribes settled in the neighbouring Hazara Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The largest clan are the Alizai, who include the Tahirkheli, one of three mains septs of the Alizai. The Tahirkheli inhabit villages along the Haro river. The other tribe along the Haro are the Saddozai, and both they and the Alizai, are branches of the Utmanzai tribe. Together with the Manduri and Barahzai, who are also found in numbers in the district, they are all sections of the great Yousafzai tribe. By far the greater proportion of the Attock Pathans are Yousafzai, allied to the Yousafzai of Swabi and Mardan districts. In addition to these, there are also a small number of Kakar, Wardag, Khattaks, Akakhel, Bangash, and Jadoon. They are largely Hindko speaking.

The Delhi and Haryana Pathans

Almost 43,420 Pathans, about 20% of the total population lived in territory that forms the modern states of Delhi and Haryana.  The Delhi Pathans lived largely in the city, and spoke Urdu, while the colonies in Gurgaon, Rohtak, Hisar, Karnal and Dujana were largely farmers and Haryanwi speaking. The princely states of Dujana, and Pataudi were ruled by Pathan rulers, and in Dujana town, the Pathans formed the largest single community. Almost the entire community were forced to leave at the time of Partition.

Multani Pathans

The descendants of Zamand very early migrated in large numbers to Multan, to which province they furnished rulers, till the reign of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, when a number of the Abdali tribe under the leadership of Shah Husain were driven from Kandahar by tribal feuds, took refuge in Multan, and being early supplemented by other of their kinsmen who were expelled by Mir Wais, the great Ghilzai chief, conquered Multan and founded the tribe well known in the Punjab as Multani Pathans.

Zahid Khan Abdali was appointed Governor of Multan with the title of Nawab, at the time of Nadir Shah’s invasion. Multan was Governed by different members of this family, until in 1818 the city was captured by the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh, after a heroic defence in which the Nawab and five of his sons were slain.

Their main clans were the Alizai, Badozai, Bamzai and Saddozai, all clans of the Durrani tribe. Other tribal communities include the Babar, Khakwani, Tareen and Yousafzai.[8] In Muzaffargarh District, the Pathans of the district are related to the Multani Pathans. They settled in Muzaffargarh in the 18th century, as small groups of Multani Pathan expended their control from the city of Multan. There distribution is as follows; the Alizai Durrani are found at Lalpur, and the Popalzai are found in Docharkha, while the Babars are based in Khangarh and Tareen in Kuhawar are other important tribes.

District / State Population
Mianwali  46,818
Rawalpindi  44,244
Delhi 17,763
Dera Ghazi Khan
13,135
Gurdaspur 11,214
Bahawalpur State
10,988
 Lahore 8,920
 Multan 8,251
 Patiala State
7,917
 Karnal 7,460
 Ambala 6,804
 Hoshiarpur 6,802
 Rohtak 5,712
 Gurgaon 5,497
Jalandhar 5,364
Hisar 4,870
Amritsar 4,676
Chenab Colony 4,531
Firuzpur 4,455
Muzaffargarh 4,019
Sialkot 3,983
Shahpur 3,562
Ludhiana 3,401
Gujrat 3,283
Jhelum 3,194
Montgomery 2,460
Nabha State 2,254
Shimla 1,312
Jhang 1,306
Malerkotla 1,282
Gujranwala 1,175
Kapurthala 1,155
Dujana 1,131
Jind 1,128
Kangra 987
Mandi 614
Kalsia 614
Keonthal 591
Chamba 550
Other Districts 1,089
Total Population 263,897

 

Ahir / Aheer (Yadav) Population of Punjab according to the 1901 Census

This is another of my series of posts looking at the distributions of castes gazetted as agricultural by the Land Alienation of Punjab. This time I am looking at Ahir, who increasingly self-identify as Yadav. The Ahir were found largely in what is now the state of Haryana, and were almost entirely Hindu. Muslim Ahirs were only found in the western most districts of Punjab, in Jhelum valley from Khushab to the city of Multan. I would ask the reader to at my post on the Muslim Aheer to get some background on the community.

 

District / State

Hindu

Muslim

Sikh

Total

 Gurgaon

78,329

 

  78,329

 Patiala

39,187

 

80

39,448

 Nabha

20,142

 

20,142

 Rohtak

17,064  

 

17,064

 Delhi

13,969

 

 

13,969

 Hissar

9,857

 

9,857

 Jind

7,246

 

 

7,246

 

 Dujana

4,712

 

 

 

4,712

 

 

 

Pataudi 3,839     3,839
Karnal 1,697
 14  64 1,775
Ambala 1,323
 13 1,336
Firuzpur 1,236
14 1,250
Shahpur 71
1,017 1,088
Lahore 820
46 846
Mianwali   843 843
Rawalpindi 577
 15   592
Multan 261
234 495
Chenab Colony 40
345
13 398
Amritsar 342
  25
367
Sialkot 259 32   291
Loharu 248 248
Gujrat 198
Faridkot 181
181
Jalandhar  170  170
Ludhiana  168  168
Jhang    167  167

Other Districts

 

 

 

 

Total

 202,385

 2,816

 227

 205,428

Labana Population of Punjab According to the 1901 Census

In this 9th Post, I will be looking at the Labana, one of the tribes gazetted as agriculture under 1901 Land Alienation Act. The majority of the Labanas were found in line of districts along the Himalayas, from Gujrat in the west to Ambala in the east. A second group were found in centre of the province, with Gujranwala to the west and Patiala State in the east. Like other agriculturist castes, the Labana were found in all three religions. The Muslim Labana often refer to themselves as Rahmani. The Muslim Labana were found mainly along the Sutlej river, in what was then Bahawalpur State and British District of Firuzpur. In 1901 a slight majority of Labana were Hindu, but by the middle of the 20th Century, the Labana had become largely Sikh.

District

Hindu

Sikh

Muslim

Total

Lahore

4,544 6,331 114 10,989
Gujrat 2,618 5,403 8,021
Sialkot 3,913 3,763 39 7,715
Gurdaspur 4,546 1,510 6,056
Hoshiarpur 2,944 481 41 3,466
Kapurthala State 1,237 876 2,113
Firuzpur 2,069 2,069
Gujranwala 1,464  508 1,972
Kangra 1,712 1,712
Ambala 1,311  223 1,534
Bahawalpur State 161 276 795 1,232
Muzaffargarh 10 1,166  13 1,189
Ambala 1,311 223 1,534
Bahawalpur State 161 276 795 1,232
Ludhiana 437 567 1,004
Jalandhar 946 54 1,000
Patiala State 979 13 992
Mandi State 945 945
Mianwali 106 552  268 926
Amritsar 196 260 456
Nahan State 440 440
Chenab Colony 263 113 376
Nalagarh State 329 329
Bilaspur State 284 284
Rawalpindi  31  227 258
 Jhang  252 252
Multan  179  42 221
Dera Ghazi Khan 77 106 183

 

 

 

 

Total

 29,514

22,884

 3,531

55,924

Baghban and Malyar/Maliar Population of Punjab and the North West Frontier Province According to the 1901 Census of India

In this fourth post on the distribution of communities, I will look at two related communities, the Baghban and Malyar, sometimes spelt Maliar. Both were found largely in the Pothohar plateau, and neighbouring areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, such as the Peshawar valley and the Hazara region. In terms of geographic distribution, they have much in common with the Awans, whose distribution I have looked at in a previous post. The term Baghban or sometimes pronounced Baghwan, is simply the Farsi equivalent of the Hindi word Mali meaning a ‘gardener,’ and commonly used as equivalent to Arain in the Western Punjab. According to Rose, the colonial British ethnologist:

Baghbans do not form a caste and the term is merely equivalent to Mali, Maliar, etc.

There is some confusion as to whether the Baghban and Maliar are distinct communities. In Peshawar, the Maliar and Baghban do seem to be distinct communities. But in other parts, the two terms are used interchangebly. It is also likely that Baghban of Patiala State were really members of the Arian caste. Time permitting, I will write a post on the Maliar caste.

Baghban Population of Punjab

District Muslim Hindu Total
Rawalpindi  502  141  643
Patiala State
 397  397
Gujrat
207

207
Mianwali
189    189
 Other Districts  257  50  307
Total Population  1,552 191 1,743

 

Baghban Population of North West Frontier Province

 

District Population
Peshawar  9,427
Bannu  2,155
Other Districts  289
Total Population  11,871

 

 

Malyar in Population Punjab

 

District Population
Rawalpindi  50,125
Jhelum  28,371
Shahpur  2,651
Total Population  81,093 

Malyar in NWFP

 

District Population
Peshawar  18,319
Hazara  7,770
Kohat  1,078
Total Population  27,167

 

Awan Population of Punjab and the North West Frontier Province according to the 1901 Census

This is my third post, looking at the population distribution according to the 1901 Census of Punjab. In this post, I look at the Awan caste, who unlike the castes looked in previous posts such as the Dogar and Kamboh, is entirely Muslim. I will ask to the reader to look at my posts on the Kamboh, to give some background as geographical spread of Colonial Punjab. In addition, for completeness’s sake, I would ask you to look at my posts on the 1931 Census of Hazara, as well my the post on the Budhal, who are sub-group of the Awans, to get some background information on the caste. This post will also look at their distributions according to the 1901 Census of the of the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan.

Awan Groups

In terms of distribution, about two-thirds of the Awans lived in the Pothohar plateau, and the Salt Range mountains, which were located just below the plateau. The Awan population of the North West Frontier Province were culturally close to the Awan of the Pothohar. Both spoke related languages, the Hindko and Pothohari languages. The Awan of Mianwali spoke an intermediate dialect between Hindko and Seraiki. While the Awans of Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan, and the southern Punjab districts of Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Multan and the Bahawalpur State spoke Seraiki.

A third cluster of Awans was found in what is now Indian Punjab. The Awan of Sialkot, Gujranwala and Lahore were culturally similar to the East Punjab Awans. There were Awankari, or Awan inhabited territories in Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and Kapurthala state, all teritories now located in Indian Punjab.

Awan Population of Punjab

 

District Population
Rawalpindi 140,835
Jhelum 99,542
Shahpur 55,387
Sialkot 24,459
Mianwali 23,449
Gujrat 14,864
Hoshiarpur 13,652
Jalandhar 12,350
Multan 6,600
Bahawalpur 4,815
Ludhiana 4,580
Lahore 3,887
Dera Ghazi Khan 3,442
Muzaffargarh 3,232
Chenab Colony 3,001
Jhang  2,900
Montgomery  1,737
Amritsar  1,683
 Gujranwala  1,018
Gurdaspur 1,008
Firuzpur 490
Kapurthala 483
Ambala 193
Total Population 421,112

Awans in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP)

In the NWFP, now known as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Awans were concentrated in the Peshawar valleyHazara Region and the southern Seraik areas of Kohat, Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan.

District Population
Peshawer 111,339
Hazara 91,474
Kohat 22,358
Bannu 8,667
Dera Ismail Khan 6,396
Malakand, Dir, Swat, and Chitral Territories 512
 Other Districts
Total Population 241,006